More Randoms

Let's see.... well this morning I saw a link suggesting that a D-Senator in California was putting in a bill that, according to the wording, could end up with babysitters becoming part of a union that would require parents to pay them minimum wage and even make sure they had a break every 2 hours, etc. If this is indeed true - what are they thinking?? what the hell? I am not posting a link because I have not managed to read the whole bill myself yet, but the excerpts I read could definitely be interpreted that way 'caregivers'. I could not find anything in my first look at the bill that defined what exactly a 'caregiver' would be so at this point, I am going with the blanket possibility that even babysitters could fall under this. Can you imagine?

I'm not saying the old going-rate from my teen babysitting years be $2/hour lol but I think if you are looking after a child some evenings and weekends, you should be happy with about half of what minimum wage in your area would be. That would be about $4.50/hour for my province, which just so happens to be the hourly rate at my daycare center if a child is only going to be there a couple of days in a month. But anyway, imagine if that were to happen here and you had to pay a babysitter 9 bucks an hour AND provide them with a second babysitter so they could get a break. Every 2 hours? Um.... what are the labor laws in Cali? I can work under Alberta Labor laws for 4 to 4.5 hours before getting a break. When I worked 3 hour shifts at a grocery store, I didn't get a break at all. But now babysitters could end up with a break after 2 hours? Are you kidding me? That's crazy. So then you have to also pay the second babysitter... but wait.... under their labour laws do they have to pay someone a 3 hour minimum like here as well? Say goodbye to dinner and a movie once a month (or once a year like me lol). The cost would just be insane. Especially for those working lower paying jobs. Or let's say I wanted a sitter while I was at work. I might as well not even go in because my sitter would be making MORE than me (after you factor taxes and other deductions off my hourly pay)... so yeah that would not be cost efficient at all if i worked a min wage job and needed a sitter sometimes (let's say there is an overlap between a husband and a wife's job so they only need a sitter for a couple hours or so a day). What is this all coming to if that California bill is true and gets interpreted that way?

All of these things drive me crazy because I work in childcare and we and the parents feel the brunt of all these silly rules and regs all the time. I have started working on our yearly Accreditation and it's not even due til March, but I have so much paper work to do and little time to do it in, I have to start 6 or more months early every year. Why? It's crazy. This year seems to be all about the nitty gritty paperwork details too. I have to almost completely re-write our business policy book from start to finish! We have to have a concrete written policy for EVERYTHING. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. From wiping noses to wiping butts, from signing forms to who is in charge of making sure each and every single little tiny detail gets done. We now have to store all incident reports in the children's files for 2 years. So everytime junior needs a bandaid, we have to have the parents sign a form that we have provided explaining what happened, when, where, how, who was there, etc (which we have done for years), but then file it. Some kids will have files 5 inches thick because they like to fall down and get scraped on the rocks that we were forced to fill the playground area with years ago. But like policies for everything and anything you can think of - stuff that should be common sense to the vast majority of most human beings, but now we have to write it down. If we don't, we lose our Accredited status and that makes us look like a bad center when we are actually running the same as we always have, and the parents are happy. the kids are happy. but the govt wont be if we dont have everything in writing somewhere. I think it's going to almost double our current huge policy book. *sigh*

But, honestly, parents are led to believe this is for the protection of their children. I can tell you that my gut says No It's Not. It is nothing but a huge ass-covering episode by the govt. Why? Because there have been a few bad things happening at dayhomes and daycares around the province the past few years (one leading to the death of an 18 month old girl in my city... horrible horrible awful thing to happen)...... and the govt is the one that supposedly looks after us, overseeing things and making up the rules. So when something bad happens, people yell and scream at the govt too. They ask how this could happen. Why when the govt has vetted each person, why could this still happen. Etc etc. Well - now the govt is finding a way to pass the buck back down. If we all have a specific written policy about everything - the govt can say 'well look, the center had this policy, we approved it, but the center did not follow their own policy, so they are solely at fault. Don't look at us'. I swear to you, that's what this is about. They don't want to get their hands dirty any longer, so they are putting it all on the centers (which is actually where the fault would truly lie in the end, that's not what I am getting at). The govt is just tired of the blame also being put on them, so they are going all-out to wave the smoke away from their office desks and have reason to say 'no, we made sure they knew what they were doing. the director was supposed to make sure this was done properly, as it says in their policy book, and they didn't. so the director (or whoever is named in the policy clause) is at fault alone. not the govt'. The end.

Just like a few years ago when we suddenly had to alter all our signs to add a phone number that could be reached after hours. Not the center's phone number, but something else like the Director's home or cell number. It was kinda weird. We couldnt figure it out. Who on earth would be coming to the center after hours? If we are closed - we are closed. You can't bring your kid on an evening, weekend, or holiday - so why would having a phone number make any difference? We were baffled when we were told that people were contracted by the govt to come around by a certain date ALL ACROSS THE PROVINCE to check every center and ensure they had a number posted. It was mind boggling!!! But then, someone let it slip.

The summer before, an infant had been left in a center and all the staff had gone home and locked up!! The parent arrived to find the doors locked, lights out, and their child still inside. She didnt know who to call so she called 911. Of fricken course. But anyway, this govt official told us that they dont want that to happen. If a child is left at the center, they want the parent to be able to call a number to get the staff to come let their child out, so the media and police would not need to be called. That is a quote from this govt spokesperson. I stumped her because I said "well Im sorry, but I am a parent too, and after I called the staff to scream about my kid being locked in there, I would be calling 9-11 as well. Immediately afterward'. The govt lady's mouth dropped open. It was almost like no one had thought of that scenario. What are we paying these Children's Services people FOR??? omg.

Anyway so the number was not for the center or the child's safety, it was so that if an incident like that happened again, the parent could reach center staff and not call the cops. Ha. Fat chance on that!!! They are insane, they really are. Those at the top sitting behind a desk making up rules that really do not work in real life.

Another thing we are finding more and more is a conflict between standard basic important regulations like staff:child ratio and the paperwork we have to do all the time. If our primary job is to look after these kids and keep them happy and safe while their parents are working, how can we do that while sitting down to fill out reams of paperwork, daily activity lists, program plans and observations, parent communication books, etc. It actually says that we are to be focused on the children. We are not counted as focused on the children if we are cleaning (you need to have an extra staff person for cleaning times), so how can we be counted as in ratio if we are staring at pieces of paper instead of watching the children? And if centers have to start hiring more staff to cover for when main staff are doing paperwork, the fees parents pay are going to skyrocket. We have kids that leave at 230, 300, 330, 400, 430, etc- so would I just basically get to sit in a chair for 3 hours or so writing on papers and communication books to have them ready for when mom/dad come, making $14/hr,  while a casual staff member comes in for that time, making $9.hour but actually doing MY job of looking after the kids? something isn't right about that at all! But that is what it is coming to.

I know I rant about this topic a lot, but it's my blog and my job and I'm also a parent of 3, so it hits home a lot. I sometimes hope that other parents will come across this and think about what they are asking of their childcare centers because in the end, it is parents who are requesting a lot of this stuff. It sounds like a super great idea to have a little communication book to learn what your kiddo did all day, what/how much they ate, if they went outside to play, how long they slept, etc. But you also have to think about when that book will be filled out. And think about how the caregiver probably has between 5 and 9 other children in their group to do the same thing for each day (depending on the children's ages).... so if it takes me 3 mins to fill out your child's page, it will actually take between 15 and 27 mins to do them all. What are your children doing during that time? Who is watching them? Could we have done a fun craft or story instead, enjoyed by all the kids? Or should I just let them run around largely unwatched while I fill out those books, along with all the other paperwork required by the govt (cleaning checklists, sign in-out pages, developmental observations, program planning observations, etc). That could take up to an hour a day instead of me directly interacting with your child, not to mention keeping a proper eye on your child. I'm not sure how I could fill out an Incident Report if I didn't get to see who bit your child or why, when my nose was stuck in a pile of 8 books (that's how many kids are in my group).

It's tough. I know it's hard to be at work all day while your child is with someone else. But - that's one of the cold hard facts of life. If you are not with your child, you do not know what they are doing at any specific time. We do have an activity calendar posted that only ONE parent has ever read on a regular basis in the 16 years I have worked at the center. In fact, we used to do one calendar for each of the 3 groups and no one read it apart from this one mom, so after 20 years of the center being open, we changed 3 years ago to making one calendar for the whole center. We all use the same themes now and just expand the activities based on our own age groups. And still, only that one parent reads it but her son's last day was today so he could go off to kindergarten - so I guess that means no parent will read it.

Right beside it we have a permanent list detailing everything we do each day and what time. Example 730 to 900 Free Play. 9-930 Circle Story Time. 930-10 morning snack (snack menus are posted and Ive only seen 2 parents look at it one time each in the past 7 years!), 10-11 Free play... etc. Everything we do for each time slot of the day has always been posted one foot away from the parent sign in book but no one looks at it. Ever. Oh tell a lie, I had one parent actually ask for a copy of it and I thought that was cool so I ran to photocopy the original. That's it though - one parent.

So really, at the end of the day, we've had numerous parents ask us for communication books over the years but none of them actually seemed interested enough to take 5 seconds to look at the calendar wall. If they can't take 5 seconds to read that, why should I spend a half hour every day filling out books? It just frustrates me sometimes. Parents are welcome to pop in or call whenever they like but guess what? None do, or maybe just during the first week to make sure their child is settling in okay. After that, we never get calls. and in the past 13 years, only two parents have ever shown up just to hang out for awhile and then go back to work. Two. Out of well over 150 sets of parents.

We also had our yearly issue of asking parents daily for over two weeks to please send a swimsuit with their child so we could enjoy the hot weather. Guess how many days in August we got to swim? Two. We;ve had 30+ degree weather for 3 weeks but only two days we actually had enough kids bring suits so we could go out and have some fun in the pools and sprinklers. We had extra suits, but not enough for half the center! And at the end of this month we still had 4 children who never did bring one in.

We try hard. We really do. We love the kids and want to do things for them and with them that will be fun, great learning opportunities, memorable, safe, and again - fun. But we are thwarted at every turn by a large number of parents. Those that are really great and truly do take an interest in what their children are doing each day do not go unnoticed by us and we strive to help them out such as by taking photos during activities and then emailing them to each individual parent - that's always been a hit. But only a small handful say thank you or even acknowledge that they got the photos at all. I have spent my own time during lunch hours downloading and emailing photos because I can't really do that during work hours or I'm not with the kids - and I only get 1-3 thank you replies. The same parents each time. Out of 21 we have about 3 that really appreciate and understand and love what we do and I am sorry, but those are the only ones I would ever consider doing a communication book for. But the govt wants me to fill them out for everyone each day, and then all of the parents are going to have to pay higher fees to do it if we are to keep in regulation ratios. Enjoy!

We have also had the teacher's union style regulations come in that the director has to provide paid time for each main staffer to be able to program plan for the month(s) ahead. While doing this, she has to bring in replacement staff. That has caused a fee hike. But it gets peddled to parents as being great. I used to spend one lunch hour a month making my next month's theme. It was no skin off my nose. I was happy to do it during my lunch break. I worked 21 days on avg each month, so I didnt mind spending one doing a bit of work. I loved making my calendar and sticking in any new ideas I had about a theme. But I no longer do that on my lunch hours because the parents have been forced to pay for my replacement to come in while I do it, along with my other staff members at varying times each month.

I am truly waiting for the day when we are told we should just close one day a month for a Professional Development Day as well, like the schools do. That way, we can do some course work or program planning on our own time while getting paid. So that means parents would have less hours of child care, have to pay someone else to watch their kiddo that day or book the day off work and lose pay - all while NOT receiving a lower daycare fee cos we are still getting paid. I already know of some centers in my region that just closed for this whole week to 'get ready for back to school'. What is that all about? And I know of some that have had a staff meeting day every other month! They close the center at noon. Why? Because we are required to have staff meetings. So far we have gotten away with only having informal staff meetings during nap time because we are so small, but I bet we will be forced to have actual ones in the near future and provide Minutes and such as well. Most people do not want to be forced to attend a staff meeting after work hours anymore (i know I dont, because I have 3 kids and a spouse at home that I want to be with) - so that's why so many staff meetings now lead to the business closing early or for a whole day. Parents will get to pay for that as well.

It really has become a mess. I am not as happy in my job now as I used to be because my brain is on other things half the time, and I am also getting too close to not being able to afford childcare at the very center I work at! What is that about?I work in the second 'cheapest' center in town and can't afford it. Wow. My spouse and I both work full time and struggle with the daycare bill. That's pretty sad. But it comes down to a combination of govt rules, and things that have been peddled to parents as being Best for Your Child, and also some parent requests - lobbying the govt for even more rules and regs. It's getting to be a pretty sad state of affairs and I already know that once my youngest is in school, I am moving on to a different job. That gives me two more years to at least TRY to tell people what is going on and make them think about it before jumping on yet another bandwagon. I love working with kids so much, that is all ive ever wanted to do with my life. Ive been working with kids for over 20 years and never thought I would tire of it - but now I am. I do not think it's about hitting 40 and wanting a career change - I happen to think my job is one of the most important on the entire planet. I am in charge of keeping human beings safe and happy every day, while their parents are out there working, so they do not have to worry about them. I had terrible things happen to me as a child and I dont want that to happen to anyone else. I have spent the last 2 decades helping hundreds of kids and their families and that was very fulfilling until things started to go pear-shaped to the point where I no longer want to deal with it anymore. I am working with the kids, they make me laugh every day, I love to meet them and watch them grow and send them off to school like an auntie (or gramma lol), but I dont like everything else that has come with the job and my coworkers feel the same way. That's pretty darn sad :(

Bob Rae for NDP leader

I have a modest proposal for the now-leaderless federal NDP: Why not consider Bob Rae for your new leader? This option has several attractive benefits:

  • It would finally cement Rae's reputation as a shameless political opportunist. He's a Dipper! No, wait - he's a Liberal! No, wait ...
  • It would confirm that Liberals have no coherent political ideology other than gaining and retaining power.
  • It would be a shining example of what would await the country if (shudder) the federal NDP ever forms a government. The campaign slogans practically write themselves: "Vote NDP & let Bob Rae do for the country what he did for Ontario!"
  • The sparring between Rae as Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister Harper would make Question Period worth watching again. Imagine Darth Harper rising in the House in awful majesty, all dark clouds and thunderbolts, fixing his evil eye on the helpless rebels gathered around Rae on the opposition benches - the thought makes me giggle like a little girl.
Come on, Dippers - put aside partisan politics and do this for the country. We look to you in our hour of need.

RELATED: File this under "I wish I'd written that" - John Ivison of the National Post, writing in an editorial about Rae's leadership of the Liberal Party: "Satire will die the day Canadians flock to support Bob Rae on a ticket of prosperity and economic growth."

[Image stolen from Stephen Taylor]

PC Government in Alberta: Is 40 Years Enough?

40 years.

For-ty Years of Progressive Conservative government in Alberta.

Is that long enough?  The Wild Rose Alliance  thinks so - and I tend to agree:

NDP and Liberal Merger: Game Changer?


Reports suggest that Pat Martin wants to move the NDP to a merger with the Liberal Party.

Other reports advise that prominent Liberal MP, Denis Coderre also says the idea is "worth considering."

Wonderful idea.

As lame as their "victory" in the last election was, the NDP did manage to topple the Liberals in the last federal election as the official opposition - which, most would suggest is as good as it's going to get for the orange crew.

So, then, why would they want to get on board with a party who has clearly lost it's way, drifting aimlessly without a leader, without direction?

Apparently stooges like Pat Martin and Denis Coderre didn't get the message.

Socialism doesn't work.  It's day is done.  The world is grappling with the reality that a bloated civil service and massive give-away social spending, in the long run, will bring a country to it's knees.

Like the Greeks.

So, then, why would the Liberals have any interest in moving farther left?  With all respect, it's a recipe for disaster.

The Conservatives will pound them for wanting to bring in massive increases in social spending, and their tent will rip at the seams as an already fractioned NDP party seeking to accommodate a plethora of special interests, will now need to accommodate fiscally conservative social moderates currently in the Liberal party.

But then again, another four years of majority Conservative government wouldn't break my heart.


Maybe this merger talk is good news after all.

Maybe this IS the game changer.

For the Conservative Party of Canada.

I wonder if Coderre and Martin own any Cookaroos?

Standing for Something

A friend gave me a book a few years ago.

It's called, "Standing for Something", by Gordon B. Hinckley.

Now.  I must admit, when I first received it, I was skeptical of the content.  My friend is Mormon and Gordon B. Hinckley is a former President of the Mormon Church - so being the non-denominational Christian that I am, and skeptical of most organized religion, I sensed my friend might be embarking on a mission of conversion.

However - as I quickly skimmed over the book, I noted the forward was written by Mike Wallace - no Mormon missionary he, and I became curious and decided to read further.  And at the end of the day, the book struck a chord - and still does today, some 8 years after I read it.

Because far from advocating on behalf of the Mormon Church, or any Church, it posits that for our lives to have value, to improve our society as a whole, change must perhaps begin within ourselves.

Stop blaming others, and look inside and ask, "What do I stand for?"  Do I ask as much of myself as I ask of those around me? Do principals like honesty, civility, forgiveness and gratitude have a place in my life?  While I expect it of those around me - do I uphold those principals in my own life?

And then, later, I came across yet another fascinating book - oddly enough from an avowed liberal and clear opponent of the George W. Bush administration.  The book is "Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists", by Susan Neiman.

Again- coming from a liberal, the book at first blush seemed to be something I would more likely dismiss or attack - however, as I read deeper, again, it struck a great chord in me that persists today.

The message in the Neiman book is essentially that in our democratic system we hunger for "moral" clarity from our leaders.  She does attack the right, particularly George W. Bush, for what she suggests is a faux-morality - but also speaks to the failure of the liberal and progressive movement for abandoning discussions of "morality", and in the bargain, failing to "stand for something."

Why discuss these two books right now.

Because of the bizarre reaction to the death of Jack Layton.

Certainly the zealots in the NDP party have sought to capitalize upon their leader's death - almost like vultures picking a carcass, we see them almost gleefully taking advantage of Mr. Layton's death to make political points.


Beyond that, we do see many Canadians looking to Jack Layton not for what he was, but for what they wished that he was.

Because in Jack Layton, they saw the closest thing to a politician in this time seeking to "stand for something".  Now - to be sure - in many respects, the place he stood was flawed and, perhaps, even dangerous for the welfare of our nation.  And in other respects, his principals were malleable and shifty - however, there was clearly an example of a man who argued a point that, unless he was completely delusional - he know would NEVER get him elected.

That is what, I think, left a mark in our psyche.

We are starved for leaders who "stand for something".

Who show "moral clarity".

As much as the death of Jack Layton has become a political side-show, with scores of political charlatans exhorting us to "step right up and lay our money down" on the NDP party - there is a more subtle response that doesn't come from vultures like Stephen Lewis, that comes from inside of all of us, who wish for something more from our leaders.   It is the normal response of respect for someone passing away, who, in his way, sought to stand for something.

The fact that the vast majority of us disagreed with what he stood for doesn't matter.

Jack Layton: Canada's Own Don Quixote

Our own Don Quixote: Deserving not scorn, but pity.

I have, over this past week, sought to focus on Jack Layton's effort, as opposed to his message.  And a few conservatives have taken me to task for this - however, to deny Jack's humanity is to deny our own.

Jack has now been laid to rest - and, perhaps it is now fair to begin to discuss his legacy in an honest way - uncolored by our sadness in his passing or our sympathy for those close to him.

How do I see Jack Layton?

I suppose I would look to Don Quixote to explain Mr. Layton's contribution to Canada's mosaic.

If you haven't read Don Quixote, I would urge it upon you.

For in this early Spanish novel written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra we see a perfect metaphor for our recently passed leader of the NDP Party, Jack Layton.

Don Quixote is a man who believes in ideals - in his case, the cause of chivalry.  So much so that he actually dons a makeshift suit of armour and mounts his horse to take arms to help the poor and attack evil.  Unfortunately, as the story progresses, we see that Don Quixote is a delusional man who's focus is often misguided, riding upon a horse who is also old and feeble.    Over and over again, Quixote embarks upon delusional efforts, attacking foes and seeking to assist innocents who exist mostly only in his own mind, quests which are doomed to failure, again, and again and again.  So - after his initial failure, he seeks a supporter - Sancho Panza, and offers to make Sancho a governor of his own island for his assistance.  Sancho is a gullible peasant who agrees to act as Quixote's squire and sets off with him on his quest.

More often than not, Quixote is more villain than savior, taking from people who have done nothing wrong - other than in Quixote's delusional imagination, and Sancho often does his best trying to protect his master from his own stupidity, while suffering himself for sticking to Quixote's side.

In one iconic scene we see Quixote setting off to attack windmills, which, in Quixote's fevered imagination, he sees as evil giants which he is required to vanquish.

At the end, we see Quixote on his death-bed.  He finally obtains clarity, and realizes the folly of his "adventures", and shortly before his death, acknowledges the folly of his vision of chivalry.

Think about that for just a moment.

And then think about the sad and deluded life of Jack Layton.

Perhaps taking up the suit of armour left, rusted and battered by the mythical Tommy Douglas, Jack Layton toiled most of his adult life in a quest for a delusional form of chivalry - socialism.

Jack Layton mounted his tired old steed, the NDP Party.

To assist him in his quest, he rallied his supporters - the Sancho Panza's of Canada, and promised them utopia for their efforts.

Sadly, what Jack couldn't see, is that the same dragons and demons that he sought to slay were, in fact, the people who fed and clothed his supporters.  In one scene we see Sancho Panza, in the form of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, seek to slay GMC and Chrysler - only to discover later than in almost slaying the beast, Sancho was left hungry and without work.

As a result, many of his supporters abandoned him - and so, astride his tired old horse, he travelled into the land of Quebec - a place where many of its citizens shared Jack's twisted vision of utopia - a place where every person wanted for nothing, and yet did not have to work or sacrifice to obtain this paradise.

Sadly, however, unlike Quixote - Jack never saw the folly in his "mission".  At least as far as we know. Maybe, at the very end, like Don Quixote, he found clarity.

However - if so, it's unlikely that Olivia Chow would share Jack's last words with us if they were, "It was all a crock, what was I thinking?"|


She was too busy helping to write Jack's "last letter".

Too busy seeking to help the latest crop of Sancho Panza's engage on yet more missions of folly.

A mission that, as in Don Quixote, is doomed to failure because it's based not in truth, but in the belief of myth and fable. 

And as such, at the end of the day, as amusing as the story of Don Quixote is, when it comes to a close, it is truly a tragedy. 

Of a man who thought he was going good - but who, in the end, was just a sad man tilting at windmills.

Google ad-sense gone awry.

Another case of Google ad-sense gone awry. Found this the other day over at Moose and Squirrel.

NDP exploiting Jack Layton for political gain.

It seems that the NDP have been flat out busted exploiting Jack Layton for their political gain, and do you know what?  Jack Layton would not have it any other way.

Before the hate mail starts flowing and I get piled on for being too insensitive or it being too soon after Jacks passing: I would like to point out that up until this post that I have refrained for the most part from making comment on his untimely death and the subsequent sometimes over the top coverage (msm,twitter,blogs), but
back to the topic at hand.

Who did not see this coming? Raise your hand if you honestly did not think that the NDP would use Jacks passing for their own gain. Somehow I doubt that there are many, if any, hands raised right now; not because you would look stupid sitting at your computer with your hand in the air but because if you are in any way familiar with the NDP and Canadian politics the answer is obvious; they would and in fact are doing just that.

When Ed Broadbent said on Wednesday: “We have to build on Jack’s legacy. And quickly.” he wasn't just sputtering nonsense because of his grief, he was telling the truth.
When Pat Martin tweeted: The only criticism Jack would have over the release of his letter is that there was no fundraising appeal at the bottom...I can say that... he too was telling it like it is and reminding us all about the real Jack Layton in the process.

The letter that Mr. Martin is referring to above was Jack Layton's message to Canadians, which a few days ago could get one tarred and feathered if they pointed out the obvious that it in part was political in nature.

We can expect to see plenty more and of course the inevitable 'Jack would' or 'wouldn't want' that is already making its way out into the political world.

That is politics. It is what it is.

I did not know Layton personally but I do know that he was a masterful politician that knew the game inside and out and one who clearly relished in it. You can believe what you would like to believe but he was a very smart man and IMHO to deny that as the time of his passing neared that Jack never gave thought about how his own death could help out the party that he had recently led to its greatest electoral success, is an insult to the mans political skills and acumen.

Layton the politician would do what it takes and that is the Jack Layton that I choose to remember. The consummate politician, right up until the end and as it now appears, beyond.

Rest in peace Jack.

As I wrote earlier' that is politics' and as I also wrote earlier, 'Jack wouldn't have it any other way'.

Update: The CP has something with an eerily similar feel: Politicization of Layton's death was what he wanted

Saturday update: "this mass outbreak of recreational grief..."

Another reason Obama won in 2008...

From what I recall, about the 2008 American presidential election, is that John McCain wasn't doing too badly until the financial crisis fiasco, which was mainly caused by the Democrats and their cohorts — started with Carter's Community Reinvestment Act and Clinton's insistence to Wall Street bankers about mortgages and so forth — Bush was too busy with terrorist jihadists, bin Laden, et al.

But when the excrement hit the fan, the anointed one soared with the assistance of the leftist media, activists and, evidently, Hedge Fund traders, short-sellers, Shadow Party, George Soros and the New World Order.

Did Hedge Funds Throw The 2008 Election? - Jeff Lukens.

Hedge fund traders had a great year in 2008. That year, hedge fund short sellers were instrumental in the spike in fuel prices, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the banking crisis, and the stock market collapse. While extremely wealthy hedge fund traders engineered each of these calamities, and made billions of more dollars short selling each one, the American people collectively lost trillions of dollars in the value of their homes and savings.

And, as amazing as it is, no one went to jail. Why? Well, perhaps it is because in 2007 the perpetrators had some laws changed to their liking. And perhaps it is because these people are politically connected to the Obama Administration and Congressional liberals. Our government is protecting them, and there needs to be a public investigation into this matter.

The hedge fund short sellers who were at the root of the mayhem are found primarily at the Managed Funds Association (MFA), the so-called “voice of global alternative investment community.” MFA members include George Soros, John Paulson, Jim Chanos, James Harris Simons, and others.

When Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, MFA lobbyists soon began pressuring Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox to remove safeguard regulations that provided the conditions for stable markets. Such regulations had been in place since 1938. Cox eventually yielded to their requests to repeal the uptick rule, circuit breakers, and trading curbs. The Federal Accounting Standards Board also instituted mark-to-market accounting. Short ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) were introduced that year as well. Collectively, these changes fomented the resulting financial disaster.

The next year was a tumultuous one for investors. Early in 2008, the stock market was trending lower as news of the subprime mortgage crisis began to unfold. In July, oil prices spiked to $147 per barrel sending ripples through the economy. One of those ripples was to hit Lehman Brothers. The double whammy of subprime mortgages and soaring oil prices put them under.

On Monday, Sept 15, Lehman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy while other lending institutions lined up like dominoes teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. On Thursday of that week, a $550 billion electronic run on banks occurred within an hour or two, going mostly to offshore accounts. Instantly, there became a liquidity crisis within the banking industry. In an unprecedented move, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve had to act together to stop what had become a full-fledged panic. No one has ever investigated who withdrew the money or to where it went.

Up to that week, John McCain was ahead of Barack Obama in some polls by about 3 percent. By Oct. 10, the S&P 500 Index had lost 25 percent of its value from what it had been a month before and the McCain campaign was doomed. Hedge fund short sellers effectively handed the election to Barack Obama.

Declining markets occur all the time. It would be an outrage to the American people if someone were to induce a market panic in the midst of a presidential campaign. Could this be what happened in 2008? We may never know for sure. The evidence is at best circumstantial. This could possibly be the perfect crime of all time. The question we need to ask ourselves now is whether we are exposed for this to happen in 2012?

Among MFA members, George Soros is the most well known. He has made his fortune by short selling and then pouring his private wealth into shadow organizations to subvert various nations. Hastening a market meltdown to give the election to Barack Obama would fit with his pattern of profiting while destroying the social order of his target country. His financing of the Democrat Party and hundreds of 527 organizations collectively has become a "Shadow Party" unto themselves. While profit and control motivate most hedge fund executives, Soros also has an ulterior motive to hasten a New World Order.

Another Soros associate is John Paulson. Paulson has contributed financially to both major political parties. He too has made billions by shorting collateralized mortgage debt securities, and then waiting for the financial institutions to collapse a few months later.

In his book, Wizards of Wall Street, Zubi Diamond detailed how the hedge fund short sellers operate in private. According to Diamond, the hedge fund short sellers are predators who feast on companies and economic sectors that can be pummeled “by market manipulations through collusion and unrestricted short selling.” Hedge fund traders, Diamond notes, can drive prices down and then drive them back up, all within a 15-minute period. Unlike mutual funds, this is an unregulated industry with many traders located offshore, outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law, which did little about regulating the hedge fund short sellers.

Diamond explains:

"The only financial reform needed today is to regulate and monitor the hedge funds and the hedge fund short sellers, some of them which are registered off-shore to avoid scrutiny. These global operators, with investors who remain mostly anonymous, must be compelled to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), publicly disclose their positions in the markets, and maintain accounting and trading records for a period of 10 years so their activities can be monitored and scrutinized. Just like mutual funds, they must be prohibited from engaging in day trading activities."

Much of the financial damage happened because of the mark-to-market rule, and because there was no uptick rule, no circuit breakers, and no trading curbs. They changed these regulations in 2007, meaning that the risk of investing has been borne by common investors “as the hedge fund short sellers operate with impunity looting the invested capital of American families.”

On March 9, 2009, the mark-to-market accounting rule was reversed, and (perhaps not so coincidentally) the S&P 500 Index happened to hit a low that same day, and more than doubled over the next two years.

The MFA’s short selling in 2008 was mostly legal because few laws were in place to stop them. And in the high-speed world of electronic trading, little evidence exists to convict them. The ways of hedge fund traders will not change until there is a public investigation, and we return regulations at least to what they were in 2006.

Perhaps we should consider the recent market volatility as the start of the 2012 campaign. Expect a wild ride as we count down to the election.

Jeff Lukens is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He can be contacted at:

The following is an excellent comment by Dennis K in the Blue Canada conservative forum where I also posted Jeff Lukens's piece.

"I am nearing the end of the book Reckless Endangerment and am totally horrified by how the regulators were totally muzzled by the likes of Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Countrywide, Novistar and the big banks. It is amazing how major institutions like Citybank and Travelers were able to lobby for deregulation that would allow them to merge into Citycorp and the later receive bailouts for bad financial practices.

It is also distressing to see how many of the major participants in the crash of 2008 hold major positions in the current administration.

My impression of hedge fund traders is that they are like the uncle that takes out a huge insurance policy on you and then accidentally bumps into you while you are waiting on the platform for the approaching train. My impression of Soros and Paulson is that they are like spiders, spinning their webs and the catching unsuspecting prey.

And complicit in all of this is the leftist media which has drank the kool-aid and insure that the electorate only hear what their handlers (media's) want heard.

I believe it is time that we stand up for our grandchildren's futures before they are sold into financial slavery."

Of Men and Mice: Political Gamesmanship As We Mourn Jack Layton


There is class.  And there is classless.

Today we read on BC Blue that a monumental display of ignorance and insensitivity has been exhibited by Tim Naumetz in an article in the Hill Times.

As I commented on BC Blue:

Jack Layton made a significant effort during his life to impact upon the political structure of our country, and for that he should be commended, as should the many who have passed before him. Politics is not an easy field, less so for people like Mr. Layton who toil to advance a view that has never been accepted by the dominant population of our country. For that effort he should also be commended and remembered well.


For supporters of his party to invite criticism of the late NDP leader's politics while his body lies in state in Parliament, by seeking to raise political debate at this sad moment in Canadian history is, itself, sad and unfortunate. The letter written by Mr. Layton was touching - and in time, a discussion will be welcomed about its content and its import.

Now is not that time.

Now is time to share the collective loss of a country to consider not his politics, or his views, but the effort and tenacity of the man.

Mr. Layton, like many other Canadian politicians before him, Liberal, Conservative and NDP alike - showed himself to be a lion of a man as he strove to seek support for his view of the ideal society.

The article by Tim Naumetz does little more than sully the good-will that comes with these moments of collective appreciation by our country for the effort of one of our own. Naumetz, does, however, exemplify quite well the contrast between men who are lions, and those who are mice.

Alison Redford: Kissing Babies..otherwise, business as usual.


I see Alison Redford made some headlines today.

She's seeking to tackle the important problem of reviewing MLA compensation, and possibly cutting or removing some MLA entitlements.

According to the Calgary Herald:
"This is all about transparency," Redford said Tuesday on the campaign trail. "I want to show Albertans they can trust the party and they can trust the government."
Oooh. What a rebel she is.
And, of course, other MLA's jump in line to "kiss babies" along with her.  You know - make symbolic efforts that do absolutely nothing to help the citizens, but make for good public relations.
Which is all this is.
When Judges are appointed in Alberta, once surviving the judicial selection process to narrow down candidates, Ms. Redford has shown that she is no different than any other PC Minister of Justice - she hands out plumb judicial appointments based primarily on service and connection to the party.
Tell us about your plans to reform that Ms. Redford.
Meanwhile, when asked about why she hasn't raised the issue of Gar Mar's plumb allocation of untendered contracts to his former executive assistant to the tune of $484,000.00, a cat has got her tongue.
She has nothing to say.
Nor does any leadership candidate asked the same question, other than Doug Griffiths, who did respond:
@GriffMLA re debate, why no discussion re Gary Mar's diversion of over $400,000 tax dollars in untendered contracts to his former EA?
22 Augvia web

At least Doug responded, though I think that saying, basically, "No one has asked me about it" isn't the most helpful response.

And there's the rub.

These people work for us, the taxpayers.

Yet - on the inside, behind the doors, in places that you don't see - they make their decisions, award contracts and positions of significant importance to Albertans, spending Albertans tax dollars - based upon the degree of connection and support for the party.

And Alison Redford can kiss as many babies as she wants, but what I am still waiting for is someone who shows a willingness to really change the culture of cronyism in the PC Party of Alberta.

She talks a good game - but when the rubber hits the road, its all talk, no substance.

Something to think about, taking a quick look at the 2011 budget:

Total Provincial Budget - 2011: $38,400,000,000.00
Total Spending on Health Care - 2011:$15,000,000.00
Total Spending on MLA Compesnation - 2011: $16,950,000.00.

See what a "big deal" MLA Compensation is, in the big picture?

What this, essentially, tells you about Alison Redford's big announcement, is that, effectively, she's doing nothing more than, well, kissing babies.

Obama isn't worried about his job...

President Obama isn't worried about his job, said former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, he's more worried about jobs for the American people.

Gibbs Says Obama's Not Worried About His Job

Hence, he and the first lady have hired more government staff than the previous governments. Stimulus. Mrs. Obama has fifty, or more, assistants.

However, if he isn't worried then why is he campaigning now, more than a year away from the presidential election, during the economic downturn, and getting more money, huge amounts? Where does that money go should he lose? And he will. Does it go back to the people?

President Obama: I Expect 'to Be Judged in a Year From Now'

Unleash Us: Are Black Voters Abandoning Obama?

Democrats Have Reason to Be Nervous About 2012 - Gerald F. Seib, Wall Street Journal

My Thoughts on Jack Layton

I was shocked and saddened yesterday as was most were to hear that Jack Layton, NDP leader and leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. had passed away  Like others  last month,  even though he looked and sounded very,very ill when he made his announcement that he was stepping aside temporally and that he had a new cancer, I thought with his tenacious optimism and determinism. we would see him back in parliament maybe not in Sept. when the house resumes as he intended  but at some point later on. I did not expect to see him leave us so quickly and suddenly like that. 

No I didn't agree with his ideas but hey you gotta give him credit.  He always positive, fought for what he believed in and he took his party into new heights. 

Yes he was a politician but we must not forget he was also a husband, father,and grandfather.  From what I could tell he loved his family very much.  I admire that.

I join others in keeping Olivia, the children and that  precious little granddaughter of his in our hearts and prayers right now as they go through this difficult time.  Pray that God comforts them and gives them strength as this will be a tough time for this family for sometime.

One thing is for sure, he will be missed by all  in the Canadian political sphere. Primarily his party will feel lost  without him. They will have big shoes to fill that's for certain.  He WAS the NDP!

Rest in peace Jack!  May God bless Olivia and the family and give them the peace that passes all understanding!

PC Leadership Candidates Respond to Question of Integrity

Well, not really.

Or have they.. in their silence?

Last week, I blogged that there appears to be a fear on the part of the Alberta PC Leadership Candidates to raise the issue of Gar Mar's past $484,000.00 gift of taxpayer money to his former executive assistant, Kelly Charlebois by way of untendered contracts for undocumented "advice".


To press my point, I tweeted each of the other candidates to their twitter accounts:

"re debate, why no discussion re Gary Mar's diversion of over $400,000 tax dollars in untendered contracts to his former EA?

So far, no response.  Crickets chirping.  Nothing.


Well, one comment on my blog from Powell Lucas suggests that they all know that only one of them will win, and they don't want to really change how business is done - and "poison the well" of government goodies that may still be forthcoming after an election.  The "payback" that guys like Kelly Charlebois get when they prove to be "good PC soldiers."

Sadly, I think he's right.

I will be very curious to see if there is one leadership candidate who will stand up for integrity and change.

If you're curious too, copy and past my question and send your own tweet to the candidates:

I'm not holding my breath for an answer- but, hey, miracles can happen.

Can't they?

Jack Layton Passes Away

This morning we awake to the news that, sadly, Jack Layton lost his battle to cancer this morning at the age of 61.

A relatively young man, it is sad that on the eve of his party's greatest moment, his personal circumstances took such a tragic turn for the worse.

Agree with his politics or not - as I've blogged before, we have to appreciate the effort that it takes to be a politician, particularly in this day and age of instant 24 hour per day news (and blogs).  A politician, particularly the leader of a national party, must endure a grueling examination in a way that was unheard of just a couple decades ago - and while we are fond of pillorying those with him we disagree (and I am no exception), we seldom give them credit for "fighting the good fight".. putting their views on display for all to criticize and sometimes ridicule.

More importantly, I would say this:

The NDP was never going to form a government in this country.

The best that the NDP could hope for was to influence government indirectly, and to perhaps, obtain a few concessions here and there.  They were never going to be able to secure the purely socialist government that their strongest supporters sought like a holy grail.

And, yet.. they persevered with democracy.  Refusing to break the laws to influence change - we never found NDP members taking people hostage, bombing banks, damaging oil sands machinery.  They, and in particular, their leader Jack Layton continued to show an abiding respect for the democratic process.

And that is to be admired.

In his effort, and the effort of his party, there is a lesson that even the hardest core conservatives can take from his example, namely, that the democratic process trumps all.  That as committed as we are to the "rightness" of our cause, even more important than our personal politics is the commitment that we all must share to the democratic process itself.

As such, it is with sadness that we receive the news of Mr. Layton's passing, and certainly, our condolences go out to his family and his friends this sad day.

Mr. Layton - you fought the good fight, the way it was meant to be fought.

Rest in Peace, Jack.

Jack Layton 1950-2011

“We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 a.m. today,” his family said in a statement. “He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. Details of Mr. Layton’s funeral arrangements will be forthcoming,"

Layton was 61.

 Rest in Peace Jack.


CBC Video tribute


PM Harper: I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight.

PC Leadership Debate: The Question No One Wants To Ask Gary Mar

The Great PC Leadership Debate: Those Feathers Can Hurt!


The reports of the so-called PC Leadership Forum in Medicine Hat last night look less like a hard-hitting battle, than a teen-girls' pillow-fight.

The odd jab and poke, here and there, but no one seems to want to take out the big guns on the so-called "contenders" who look more like "pretenders".

The biggest question, no one, including the mainstream media seems to want to ask:

Gary Mar, Tell us about the tax-payer dollars you funnelled to Kelly Charlebois.

Explain to us, as leader, how your explain sending $400,000.00 his way in an untendered contract with no proof of any work of any kind provided for that contract.

Explain to us, as leader, if it was just a coincidence that this same Kelly Charlebois was your former executive assistant.

It's truly curious, isn't it?

I mean - if I was vying for the leadership of this party, if I wanted to "raise the bar" of what we should be demanding of our future leader, I would be hammering Gary Mar with this question every single opportunity I had.

And yet..  when the opportunity arises to raise the issue, we hear...  nothing..  crickets chirping.

How can this be?

I'll tell you.

Because no one in mainstream politics wants to change the game.  In order to gather money and bodies for support of your political goals, the conventional wisdom in the PC Party of Alberta is that you need to be able to use taxpayer dollars to repay your friends.  Because with the exception of the very few, no one seems willing to give hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars without an expectation of payback.


The prospective leaders ignore this dirty little not-so-secret-secret.

Because, imagine, if in the middle of a leadership race, you sent a clear and unequivocal message to your supporters, "There will be no payback".

Suddenly the cheques would dry up and the bodies knocking on doors and making phone calls would start to vanish.

And, I mean, it's not like it's THEIR money they are using for repayment, is it?


It's yours. 

And mine.

Think about that as you watch the leadership race unfold in this Province - and then ask yourself - who is more shameful: Gary Mar for using tax-payer dollars to repay his friend.. or other leadership contenders who refuse to ask him about it?

Wasn't it Edmond Burke who said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

**P.S.: I have sent the following twitter to ask each of the leadership hopefuls:
re debate, why no discussion re Gary Mar's diversion of over $400,000 tax dollars in untendered contracts to his former EA?
I will, with great anticipation, await their responses (or lack thereof) and report later.

A funny thing happened on FB....

For once this is not really a rant... just a funky weird thing that happened tonight courtesy of facebook, google search engine, and Kijiji ads..... I noticed when I logged into FB that a friend of mine posted that her friend came home from work tonight to find a dog locked in her backyard. A special breed, not one that 'everyone has', but still kinda common. She posted his specs and I reposted them on my profile page because I have lots of friends in the neighbouring town where this doggie was found. I figured 'hey, it's worth a shot. Small town, might find someone that knows who the dog's owner is'.

Less than 1 minute later, one of my friends posted a link she found on a kijiji ad that was only posted 2 hours earlier, showing a male dog of the same breed and color that they were trying to find a home for. The family posted that they were moving to BC and could not take the dog. But since the ad was only just posted like maybe an hour and a bit before the dog was found, I thought 'nah... that cant be the same one! the family would literally have been posting an ad to find him a new home while he was actually off galvanting loose around town'. .... but then I thought 'it's a small town though, and it's a bit weird to have a black male dog of this particular breed listed at the same time'.... so I went ahead and posted the kijiji link on my other friend's page.

Meanwhile, myself and my ad-finding-friend were saying it would be sad if this was indeed the same dog, how freaky it was the ad was just posted this evening, etc and whammo - the response comes back that the found-dog answers to the name of the ad-dog! Thank goodness they posted his name because that was the ultimate best way to test. A bit of an odd name for this kind of dog (part of the name is Pug, and this dog is NOT a pug lol)... so it was almost too good to be true! It's the same darn dog!

So thanks to FB, the rightful owner was found, but at the same time, the owner might get a nasty surprise the next time they check their email. The dog has a bum back leg covered in abscesses and the person who found him is a dog lover/owner and is NOT happy. She is taking him to the vet in the morning and will probably end up contacting the SPCA to see if she has to give the dog to it's owners or if they have some advice. Would you want to give this dog back if you found him in this condition and then found out that the family wants to give him away anyway?

Then I go back to my page and find that another friend from that town sees that dog running loose, alone, ALL the time. Just saw him running around tonight in fact, but it's far from the first time. She has wondered many times why his family lets him out like that, where he could get hurt or worse - hurt someone else and end up getting put down (because he is normally a very friendly dog according to those who have now encountered him). And now here he is, in someone else's locked (???) backyard on the very night the family offers him up to a new home.

Ya, I don't think this pup will be going back to his current owners. I think he will be fast tracked to a new home and who knows, his current owners could end up with a fine or worse. Not that I love all the animal bylaws out there - my old neighbourhood kids used to let my old dog out when I was at school or work and I paid over $300 in fines when the SPCA picked him up. That ticked me off because in my opinion, those kids vandalized and trespassed MY property by jimmying the locks no matter what we put on there to stop them, and then let my dog go out running. Luckily he was never hurt, but I was some ticked to have to pay over $100 each time for 'Dog Running At Large'. My dog was big so I remember joking with one officer that perhaps it should be called 'Large Dog Running'. He didn't laugh. What a grouch!

anyway aside from allll that - I just thought it was a pretty cool thing to happen. By chance a few people see the post and the mystery is solved in less than 3 minutes! Some people hate the internet and think it's a bad seed but I love it. It's great. I have found family members from my dad's side that I never knew existed or never thought I would find, just by clicking a few buttons on FB. I have discovered that my boyfriend's great grandfather was an MP in the early 1920s, the first MP for a particular party at that time in fact, and we found photos, info, etc that was super cool. And we found out about a doggie who appears to have been mistreated and will hopefully be going to a good happy home very soon :) But what were the chances of that eh???

One More Reason to Shut Down CBC-Gilles Dueceppe

CBC sucks over a billion dollars every year from the taxpayer.  They spew their anti-anything conservative, anti-American, anti-Israel garbage. Now they've hired defeated separatist leader Gilles Dueceppe.

MONTREAL  - Former Bloc Quebecois head Gilles Duceppe said he doesn't think there is anything controversial about an ex-soveregnist leader working at the state broadcaster.
Duceppe starts work as a columnist for the French CBC next week.
So now Gilles not only gets his gold plated MP's pension but he'll be receiving a  nice little paycheck as well paid for by you and me.  Someone who despises the rest of Canada and whose  raison d'etre is to break up the country  but is all to glad to take our money.

CBC? Time to shut 'em down.  Switch off the lights, lock the doors, and say good nite! I'm sick and tired of the state broadcaster sucking from the public teet to spew their garbage. Giving the former Bloc leader a soapbox is the last straw.  Here that James Moore?

Update: Gilles steps down from CBC.
"Following a misunderstanding about the nature of its mandate, Gilles Duceppe has chosen not to be a weekly columnist for the show," the Radio-Canada said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.